Is DV Camera even worth buying under $2,000?

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    • #43838

      *Shooting for Web only
      *Company Website

      Would I be better off buying a lower-end HD (Cannon HF100) camera and then downgrading to DV?

      From my research, all the DV cameras under $2,000 have about the same, grainy video quality. Since my budget is around $600 for a camera, would it better to just get an HD camera and downgrade on FCE?

      I would appreciate any input.

    • #183721

      Good Question.

      Technically, if you shoot HD and down convert to SD the quality will be better than shooting SD from the beginning, but the format you’re shooting isn’t the greatest factor in terms of image quality. The quality of the image isn’t completely based on the camera. It has more to do with how the scene is lit and if you have the proper amount of light for your camera. So a properly lit scene shot in SD will look MUCH better than a poorly lit scene in HD.

      You also mentioned that you’re going to be posting the videos for the web. Your method of compression is the bigger factor here too. If you can’t compress the image properly, then what’s the point of HD. Also, when you post on the web, you’re not seeing HD anyway.

      So to answer your question: Yes, shooting HD and then down converting will be better quality than shooting SD from the start; however, format is not a large factor in determining quality. It’s largely the lighting and compression for the web.

      In my opinion, you should by an SD camera and lights. I got a cheap lighting kit that is working fine for me until I can get a real lighting kit. Here is a link to what I have:


    • #183722

      That is a good point, but also I can’t seem to find a decend DV camera with a Mic input. Sound is very important for this site as well.

      Ideas on any good DV cameras with Mic input?

    • #183723

      Ideally you want a camera that has XLR connections. These are professional audio connections that are used on almost all microphones. Unfortunately, unless you can get ahold of a used camera (Sony PD170 or Panasonic DVX100 DVX100A or DVX100B), you won’t find one that fits your budget and has XLR. So you have 2 options:

      1. Most cameras has a mic input, but it’s a 1/8″ jack. You will need to buy an XLR adapter to use microphones that have an XLR connection. A popular brand is BeachTek:

      2. You may be able to find a microphone that doesn’t use an XLR connection but instead uses the 1/8″ jack. These microphones are probably crappy. So i’d suggest going with the first option if you can’t find a camera with XLR connections.

      Also, the type of microphone you choose plays a role as well. If you are shooting a sit-down interview, most likely you’ll want a wired lavalier microphone. I have this one and it works flawlessly:

      With any wired lavalier microphone, you’ll want to by about 10 feet of XLR cable as well. I wouldn’t buy a wires set of microphones. They are a hassle, good ones are too expensive, they’re not as good as wired mics, and they really should be a last resort.

      You may also want to consider a shotgun microphone for other shooting situations. My friend has this one, which i’ve borrowed and liked a lot. I plan on buying this in the near future.

    • #183724

      Oops, I didn’t really answer your question about suggestions for good DV cameras with a mic input.

      To be honest, I’m not familiar with cameras in the $600 range, so you’ll have to do some simple research on and look for a camera that has a 1/8″ mic jack.

      Also, I just re-read your first post. I thought your budget was $2000, not $600. You definitely won’t find a used camera with XLR connections. Sorry.

    • #183725

      Okay, I totally disagree with some of the comments made.

      I use a few Sony DCR-VX 2100’s (Prosumer grade MiniDV SD Cam). I have watched my footage on a 1080p HD TV and you would swear that it was shot with an HD camcorder 3 (1/3 inch) CCD, 2lux.Great quality pro-sumer camera. I use them to shoot weddings.

      It all depends on the quality of the camera. I also have a panasonic consumer grade camcorder that records great SD quality in the sun but not all that great inside. I would never use it for any of my pro work because it is, as you say, grainy indoors.

      But if you get an HD camcorder, you will find the same problems. If you get a low quality consumer grade HD cam it won’t look very good. It will be big (1920? X 1080) yes, but it will be a Big blob of mess if the cam sucks. Look to your prosumer grades if you are adamit about getting HD. Also look at the # of CCD/CMOS chips and their size and the Lux rating of the camera.

      If you are going to be downgrading to web-quality compression where it will be grainy and pixilated anyway, just go with an SD camera. It won’t make any difference. Like robgrauertsaid, just make sure everything is lit properly and you should be fine.

      As for the sound. I would recommend just using an inexpensive soundboard to recording deck (or something along those lines), then synching up the sound in your editing software. That way there won’t be any sound problems with the camcorder and you won’t have to spend gas prices for a camcorder with XLR inputs.

    • #183726

      Ok.. now it’s me who don’t agree with you guys.

      I really don’t know why people have so much prejudice with HD. I have a Canon HR10 (bought at fry’s for $499, a bargain) and i shoot all the events for my school to show in the morning annoucements (which are dipayed in SD TVs)..It looks REALLY good. I also put the videos in my school’s website. i just put the videos on VIMEO, and put the embed code in the website. Clean, Easy, and Fast.

      Regarding to Mic Input, the HF10 dosen’t have one. i just plug a XLR mic in a digital voice recorder (bought at fry’s for $29.99, another bargain.) using a XLR to 1″/8″ adapter. then, i put the audio in my pc through the USB connection, edit in Sony Vegas Pro 8. Another happy ending.

      But there is the CANON HV 20/30, which has a great image quality (you can compare it to PROSUMER cameras.) it has a mic input, headphone output.

      And for the”If you get a low quality consumer grade HD cam it won’t look very good”, i bought a $499 CONSUMER camcoreder and it looks AWESOME! really.

      “If you are going to be downgrading to web-quality compression where it will be grainy and pixilated anyway, just go with an SD camera. It won’t make any difference.” Yes, it will make a huge difference. Everybody knows that downgrading HD to SD will look way better than native SD, and oh, i never saw a pixalated HD video in the web.

      I konow that our situations are very different, you making videos for your company and i making videos for my school. But don’t let yourself illude with the prejudice of HD. Hd is good. Better is always good.

      Well, hope i have helped,

      Caio Porciuncula

    • #183727

      Canon HV30, BeachTek audio with XLR, Azden (or other) shotgun microphone, and Lite Panels on-cam in conjunction with a dual-light auxiliary set of some kind – all for probably under $2K, should do an appropriate job, AND put you in the HD environment, keeping you in the MiniDV tape acquisition environment.

      There’s alternatives, solutions and economical approaches that still maintain production quality – you just have to narrow the search to what you REALLY want (or need) and try to get past the subjective ironies that are often involved with opinions expressed by people, or those who write the stuff that goes on the product reviews paid for by their respective companies/manufacturers.

    • #183728

      Thanks for the helpful review.

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